Students campaign for state elections, see results

It is not yet 2008, but both the College Republicans and College Democrats traveled to key states in recent weeks to work for candidates in state legislative and gubernatorial contests.

One of the battleground states this election cycle is Virginia, where students from both the CRs and CDs traveled last weekend, helping candidates in local and legislative races. The CRs went to Virginia on Saturday to work on several state Senate campaigns, including Richard Stuart’s successful bid for state Senate in Safford County.

“The race in Virginia is extremely important because it has national implications,” said Peter Glessing, a spokesperson for the CRs. “In the upcoming years, the Virginia legislature will have to re-draw the district lines for U.S. House seats. If Democrats take control of both houses of the state legislature between now and 2009, the Republicans could potentially lose up to five or six U.S. House seats when redistricting occurs.”

Chris Brooks, the CRs chairman, echoed Glessing’s sentiment, adding that the election in Virginia “is a perfect example of how these state races have implications on the national level.”

Students who traveled to Virginia were focused on making voters aware of the upcoming election and convincing them to vote for the appropriate candidate.

“All of the voters in Virginia have been bombarded with electioneering on television, on the radio and in the newspapers,” Brooks said. “Our work in the final week of the campaign helps to seal the deal and provide the final push needed to drive the voters to the polls.”

The CDs also had members working in Virginia on Saturday, specifically contributing to campaigns in Fairfax County.

“With the election so close, as we are trying to win seats from incumbent Republicans, every door knocked, every phone rung is huge,” said Michael Weil, communications director for the CDs. “In terms of Democratic politics nationwide, this election will set the tone for the Senate race (in 2008) as well as for the presidential campaign where we believe Virginia will be in play.”

The CDs main target this past weekend however was in Kentucky, where Democrat Steve Beshear comfortably defeated incumbent Republican Governor Ernie Fletcher.

“The race that we focused our efforts on was Kentucky, and we won there, so I’m confident that our resources were used efficiently,” Weil said Tuesday night.

One GW alumnus was also successful in Kentucky this week. Jack Conway, a graduate of the GW Law School, defeated Republican Stan Lee in an open-seat race for attorney general.

Earlier in the semester, the CRs sent members to Louisiana on a five-day trip, aiding in Rep. Bobby Jindal’s victorious gubernatorial campaign. The CRs also campaigned in Massachusetts to help Republican Jim Ogonowski in the Fifth Congressional district special election earlier this month.

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